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Former Romney Debate Coach Says Santorum in Spotlight Former Romney Debate Coach Says Santorum in Spotlight

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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / 2012 Election

Former Romney Debate Coach Says Santorum in Spotlight

O'Donnell says 'going under the radar will not be acceptable this time'

photo of Alexandra  Jaffe
February 22, 2012

Former Romney debate coach Brett O'Donnell offered a warning to all the GOP candidates, but to Rick Santorum in particular: "Going under the radar will not be acceptable this time."

Speaking on CNN’s Early Start, O'Donnell said that "the stakes could not be higher" for tonight's debate, the 20th so far, because it is potentially the last debate of the primary season.

But O'Donnell had choice words for newly-surging Santorum, who had previously remained both literally and figuratively off to the side of the debate stage while candidates with more bombast—and higher polling numbers—took center stage.

 

"[Santorum] will be in the center of the stage, he’ll be in the spotlight,” he said. “He's got a lot of things he's going to have to answer tonight in the debate, given the last few days and some of the comments” Santorum has made.

O'Donnell had advice for the wider pack of candidates, as well: The winner will make himself clear as the best candidate to beat Obama.

"These debates are really about establishing who is the alpha male, who is the leader of the pack,” he said. “And it's very, very important that tonight, each of them look for that moment where they can establish themselves as the person who will be the champion to go take on President Obama in the fall.”

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